2021 NRL – Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm Preview & Prediction

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THE FACTS

When is Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm taking place? Thursday 25th March, 2021 – 09:05 (UK)

Where is Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm taking place? BlueBet Stadium, Penrith

Where can I get tickets for Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm? Click here for ticket information on 2021 NRL matches

What channel is Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm on? Sky Sports Arena will be televising selected NRL games in the UK and you can find their schedule here. For Australian broadcasters, you can find a list here

Where can I stream Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm? If televised on Sky Sports, then subscribers will be able to stream the match live via Sky Go. Alternatively, the match will be available to subscribers of Watch NRL

THE TEAM NEWS

PENRITH PANTHERS

Starting 13: Edwards, Staines, Momirovski, Crichton, To’o, Luai, Burton, Leota, Kenny, Fisher-Harris, Kikau, Capewell, Yeo – Interchanges: May, Leniu, Eisenhuth, Martin – Reserves: Sorensen, Salmon

Unavailable: Api Koroisau (Injured), Nathan Cleary (Injured)

  • Penrith Panthers produced a second consecutive shutout to begin the season as they swept aside the challenge of Canterbury Bulldogs last week but this will be a much tougher contest as they take on last season’s Premiership winners.
  • The 0-28 success against the Bulldogs means the Panthers have won their opening two games by an aggregate score of 52-0 in what has been a very impressive start, largely thanks to missing just 37 tackles across those two matches.
  • The Panthers had already been forced into a change to their 17 with hooker Api Koroisau set to miss at least five weeks with a broken wrist but to compound that, influential halfback Nathan Cleary is also out due to a head knock he copped last week.

MELBOURNE STORM

Starting 13: Hynes, Jennings, R. Smith, Olam, Addo-Carr, Munster, Hughes, J. Bromwich, B. Smith, Welch, Eisenhuth, K. Bromwich, Asofa-Solomona – Interchanges: Pene, Kamikamica, Lewis, Johns – Reserves: Schonig, Smoothy

Unavailable: Harry Grant (Injured), Dale Finucane (Injured), Max King (Injured), Brenko Lee (Injured), Felise Kaufusi (Suspended), Ryan Papenhuyzen (Injured)

  • Melbourne Storm were unable to hit the heights of their magnificent win over South Sydney Rabbitohs as they were edged by a late try against Parramatta Eels in treacherous conditions last week.
  • In a tightly-fought contest, the Storm fell to a 16-12 loss despite seeing more of the ball than their opponents as well as running for over 300 metres more than the Eels managed with Melbourne failing to do enough to overcome a sturdy defensive effort.
  • The Storm are still without the likes of Harry Grant and Dale Finucane but they have also suffered a big blow 24 hours before kick-off with fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen dropping out of the side with a neck injury so Nicho Hynes comes into the side.

THE PREDICTION

In a repeat of last season’s Grand Final, Penrith Panthers will take on Melbourne Storm in what is a mouth-watering prospect. The Panthers have made a real statement to begin this campaign and are yet to concede a single point after two matches. That could cause a problem for the Storm who will hope for better weather than when they went down to Parramatta Eels last week with the poor conditions seemingly affecting their attacking rhythm. Penrith are brilliant at home and they have won their last ten matches at Panthers Stadium but the loss of Api Koroisau and Nathan Cleary to injuries could be pivotal. Ryan Papenhuyzen is also a huge out for the Storm but they will arrive with a point to prove after last week’s loss and with the reigning premiers offered a +2.5 start on the handicap, that could be generous if the hosts fail to cope without Koroisau's distribution out of dummy half and Cleary's organisation and kicking game.

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